How to Build a DIY Cat Tree in Six Easy Steps

You can get as creative as you want when making a DIY cat tree — your kitty will be grateful.

Cats love to climb and hide, so why not gift your loveable feline a new cat tree? Sure, you could just buy one from the store, but making it yourself keeps costs low, and you can design it based on your own space. As long as you have the proper tools, this is a pretty straightforward construction project, just follow this guide and you’ll be set.

Tools Needed

  • Lumber, like plywood boards
  • PVC pipe, dimensional lumber, or heavy cardboard tubes
  • Carpet
  • Sisal rope
  • Wood glue or screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Scissors

1. Get Inspired

Your first step is to scour pet stores, or the internet, for ideas. You can go as simple or as elaborate as your heart desires — your imagination (and maybe gravity) are the only limits. Your structure could go all the way to the ceiling, or have multiple towers for more than one cat, and think about where you want to put your cat tree, too. If your pet loves to lounge in the sun, for example, build it to be the proper size and height to catch the rays from your window.

2. Sketch a Design

Next, you’ll need to plan out a design. Make sure that the base of your cat tree is larger and heavier than any platforms, so that it can’t tip over. The wood you use for the base should be thick, too — you can glue multiple pieces of wood together. If you’re inexperienced and worried about making it structurally sound, feel free to find an exact blueprint online so you know how big to make your pieces.

3. Prep Your Lumber

Before you start building, it’s a good idea to get all the pieces ready so that you’re prepared. Carefully use a hand saw or table saw to cut the wood into the sizes you’ll need for the base. Platforms should also be made with plywood panels, which will be attached together to form a bed shape. For the posts, you could use dimensional lumber, PVC pipes, or even heavy-duty cardboard tubes.

4. Build the Base

Start by working with your base. Cut out a piece of your chosen carpet, which will cover the base, a few inches longer on each side than the wood. Cut out notches at the corners, so that it can fold smoothly, and staple the carpet along the bottom, out of sight.

5. Attach the Vertical Supports

Start by wrapping your supports in either sisal rope or carpet and add staples along the bottom or inside to secure it. Then, attach the post to the base using either wood glue or screws — you’ll likely need to cut out an exact hole from the top of the carpet. You could also carpet the base last, but your cutting will need to be more intricate to wrap around the post.

6. Secure the Platforms

Now is the time to secure any platforms you’ve built onto the vertical supports, using either glue or wood screws depending on your design. Cover each platform with carpet after putting it together, so that any screws in the wood will be hidden and won’t harm your pet, and then secure it by stapling it underneath.

Finishing Touches

Following these steps will result in a wonderful cat tree, but there are some optional additions you could add to make it even better. Consider making a double posted cat tree and hanging a hammock in between, so your cat has a soft bed to sleep in, or you can build some steps so your cat can get to the top more easily.

Photo credit: LeDarArt/Shutterstock

Got a Zipper that Won’t Stay Closed? Here’s How to Fix It

A broken zipper can happen to anyone, but with a few basic tools and a few simple steps, you can fix it up good as new.

It’s a horrible feeling to zip up your favorite jacket or backpack, only to realize that the closure comes undone immediately. Luckily, fixing it on your own is completely doable, and it should only take you less than an hour from start to finish. Use our handy guide below to learn how to fix a zipper, and we’ll also go over some related problems that are easy to solve.

Tools You’ll Need:

As this is a relatively simple project, you’ll probably only need a pair of needle nose pliers to get the job done. Depending on the level of damage, you might also need to buy a new zipper slider and zipper stoppers, or a small amount of laundry detergent and a cotton swab to clean it.

Remove the Old Zipper Slider

Start by taking off the stopper at the bottom, which keeps the zipper from sliding off the garment, using your needle nose pliers. Then, carefully pull off the old slider, and inspect the level of damage it has.

Tighten It if Necessary

If your zipper slider looks crimped and distorted, you might just need to quickly adjust it to fix the zipper. Use your pliers to carefully bend it back to its original shape, without applying too much pressure. You might be able to complete this step without taking off the slider completely, too, depending on how badly it’s misshaped.

Put in the New Slider

If tightening it up isn’t working, it’s time to install your new zipper slider. Dispose of your old one and pop on the new, making sure it’s in the same direction and on the same side. Then, you’ll need to attach the stopper back on using your pliers. If the old stopper was made of plastic, you might have some troubles reusing it, so it’s likely easier to purchase and affix a new one.

Other Problems You Might Encounter:

A broken zipper pull: If it’s just the pull on your zipper that snapped off, there are some crafty fixes you can use until you get a new slider. You can just attach an old key ring, or even a soda can tab, to help you slide it on and off. This is only a temporary fix, of course, but it can make life easier in the moment.

A zipper stuck on dirt or gunk: Sometimes, your zipper might just be stuck on some dirt caught inside the teeth or slider. To get it out, you can try to use something sharp and pointy, like a pencil or sewing pin, to budge it out of the zipper. You can also try laundry detergent; pour a very small amount into a dish and dilute it with water. Then, dip a cotton swab into the mix, and coat the zipper teeth with it. Keep doing this until the zipper can move without issue.

A zipper detached at the seams: The zipper fabric itself can rip off from your garment, too. If that ever happens to you, you’ll need to sew it back on, either by hand or using a sewing machine for a more secure finish. If you don’t have any sewing experience, it might be best to bring it to a professional tailor.

Photo credit: CGN089/Shutterstock

Can’t catch any ZZZ’s? Here are 5 Tips for How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule

A disrupted sleep schedule can happen to anyone, but there are plenty of restful activities to try — here are five tips that can help you fix your sleep schedule and stick to a routine.

A consistent bedtime routine is important for your health and happiness, but there are lots of things that can throw off your sleep schedule. All nighters spent finishing your homework, waking up in the middle of the night to your baby crying, or working nights shifts are all factors that can disrupt your circadian rhythm. If your internal clock has fallen off track and you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, there are fixes: Here are five tips to help you reset your schedule and drift off to sleep — no counting sheep necessary.

Say No to Afternoon Caffeine

As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant found in many drinks like tea, coffee, and even soda, that give you a jolt of energy to help you through your day. Many people don’t realize how long it stays in your system — up to twelve hours, depending on the individual. Reducing your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon, can help your body wind down in the evening time so you can fall asleep more easily.

Create a Relaxing Environment

Your surroundings can play a big role in insomnia. Noisy and stimulating environments keep the brain active and awake, and because your body temperature falls as you drift to sleep, bedrooms that are too hot can discourage sleep, too. Luckily, you have some control over your environment; turn down the heat or remove a blanket layer, and don’t watch Netflix as you’re falling asleep. To set a snoozy mood after a long day, try sipping on chamomile tea, having a relaxing bubble bath, or going through a guided meditation to ease the nerves before bed.

Manage Your Stress Levels

Lots of people struggle to sleep because of emotional factors, like stress or anxiety that trickles from the day into the evening; your body will produce cortisol when stressed, which is a hormone that can keep you awake. Try activities like yoga or meditation to help shift your focus away from anxiety, and onto relaxing your body to fix your sleep schedule. If you’re someone who lays awake thinking of everything that went wrong during the day, remember, too, that we’re all just doing our best, and for whatever doesn’t get accomplished today, there’s always tomorrow.

Avoid Light Exposure Before Bed as Much as Possible

If your current bedtime routine involves catching up on social media before hitting the pillow, you might want to rethink that, as exposure to light at night can throw off your circadian rhythm. Blue light from your electronic screens has been painted as the main culprit, but a recent study found that this isn’t necessarily true and yellow light also impacts sleep. Using night shift on your devices isn’t a replacement for putting your phone down and doing a screen-free activity.

Talk to Your Doctor

If all else fails, or you can’t fix your emotional troubles alone, you should reach out to your physician, who can likely come up with a diagnosis and a game plan. They might suggest taking melatonin supplements, as for some people it can help establish sleeping patterns. Light therapy could be another option, where bright light exposure, usually in the morning, can help set a proper circadian rhythm and help you fall asleep earlier. Just don’t try any medical fixes before going through it with your doctor!

A disrupted sleep schedule can happen to anyone, but we hope that with these tips in hand, you’ll be able to fix it and create a bedtime routine that you can stick to, so that falling asleep on time every night will be easy, not a chore.

Photo credit: AA.Shkob/Shutterstock

4 DIY Car Maintenance Tips That You Can Handle Without Help

While we love our cars, there is no denying the fact that getting them serviced professionally can be an expensive affair.

That’s why we suggest taking on some auto repair and maintenance jobs yourself. This will not only help you save quite a lot of money but also give you a better understanding of your vehicle.

You don’t need to be an expert, or even mechanically inclined to do some basic upkeep. Here are a few repairs that are easy to handle:

Easy DIY Tips To Maintain Your Car

Many of us consider car maintenance as the work of a mechanic, but with these simple DIY tips, you can easily maintain your car on your own.

Change The Air Filter

Did you know that a dirty cabin air filter can put extra load on your car’s A/C system and make it underperform?

That’s why experts recommended changing your car’s air filter every 12000 miles or at least once a year.

You can change your air filter in just about a few minutes.

Look for it under your car’s hood, in a rectangular box. If you don’t find it, check the manual to find its location. Open the case and make a note of how it’s placed. Replace the old air filter with your new one in the same position, and put back the covers.

A quick tip: if you want to save some extra bucks, remove the dirt on your current filter using compressed air and use the same one again.

Replace The Windshield Wipers

If your car’s windshield wipers leave behind streaks and don’t wipe clean, you need to change the blades.  It’s very easy to replace them. Raise the blades just the way you do it when you’re about to wash your windshield.

Remove them, but make sure to notice how they are connected to metal arms. Push the tab located at the bottom of your wiper to remove the old blade.

Carefully attach your new blades as you don’t want to scratch the windshield, and you’re done.

Replace The Spark Plugs

Change your car’s spark plugs after every 30,000 miles or at regular intervals, as recommended in your car’s manual.

You may think changing spark plugs require loads of time and work, but it’s in fact quite easy.

You may see four or more plugs, so don’t get confused. Just remove the wire from the first plug and clean it or replace it, then move on to the next.

Never remove all plug wires at one go, as they’re installed in a specific order that you’ll need to maintain strictly.

Use your spark plug’s extension and socket to remove the first plug. Place your new plug with your hand first, then use your wrench to tighten it further. Go for a snug fit, as you don’t want to over-tighten it.

Attach the wire back with the plug, and repeat the process for each plug individually.

Check The Oil Filter

If you go by the advice of car experts, change your car’s oil every time you cross 3000 miles.

There’re two things you need to keep in mind before changing your oil:

First, make sure the engine isn’t hot

Second, you may need to jack up your car, so it’s raised slightly.

Once you’ve taken the necessary precautions, it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Place an oil pan under your car. Unscrew the drain plug, and let the old oil drain out completely into the pan. Once it’s drained, change your drain plug.

Open your engine, and take out the old oil filter using your wrench. You’ll have to be careful, as it may contain old oil.

Start lubricating the gasket with your motor oil. You need to fill your oil filter nearly about two-third, not more than that. Screw in the filter, make sure to hand-tight it first.

Now, start filling your car’s engine with new motor oil. Use dip-stick to check the oil level, and your engine is ready.

Save hundreds of thousands of dollars by doing the repairs yourself. These maintenance tasks are easy to do and only require your attention a few times a year.

Photo credit: WeAre/Shutterstock

 

Considering Synthetic Grass For Your Backyard? Here’s How To Install It!

Who wouldn’t love lush greenery, flowers, and a natural lawn in their backyard? But what happens when your garden doesn’t have any grass, not even a little?

There’s also a chance your backyard simply can’t grow quality grass, or you don’t have the time to maintain a green lawn since you’re always busy.

This void can be filled with artificial grass, and the best part is that you can buy it and install it all by yourself. It only takes a little bit of your time, and then you can have a lush green lawn for the rest of the year, and you don’t ever have to worry about upkeep or repairs!

That’s a win-win situation if you ask us.

Easy DIY Methods To Install Your Fake Grass

Having a lush green yard is an important part of the quintessential American dream. You can realize your dream by installing synthetic grass. It’s quick and easy.

Follow the steps below to install artificial grass in your backyard. If you need a visual guide, watch this DIY tutorial to learn how to install fake grass.

Remove Your Present Turf

It’s time to say goodbye to your existing lawn that has only caused exorbitant water bills, patchy grass, costly maintenance, etc. and go artificial.

To ensure your new artificial turf sits still and looks attractive, you need to excavate your existing lawn.  Start by cleaning your base. Remove rocks, debris, and other waste that can get in the way of grass installation.

Excavate the soil with your shovel and dig up to 70mm deep – that’s where you’ll place your fake turf.

Create The Base For Your Synthetic Turf

When you’re done with excavation, get your rake and start leveling the base. Keep one thing in mind: it should be smooth.

It’s better if you use crushed rock as your base for the fake turf. You can find them easily at your nearby hardware store.

Make sure to equally spread its base and use your rake to set the sub-base flat. After that, use a vibrating plate to compact your base. Check the depth of your sub-base; it should be around 15mm.

Arrange The Turf

Bingo! You’ve completed half the installation process.  As soon as you’re done with the base, it’s time to position your artificial turf.

Unroll your fake turf and leave it for a couple of hours to adjust and flatten.

Use a sharp cutting knife to cut the turf. And make sure you cut clean, as it’ll help you in accurate joining later.

Proper Joining Of Pieces

Do you know what makes artificial grass look real? It’s the correct joining of the divided pieces.

Keep your divided turf pieces close, but not so close that they overlap and touch – a few millimeters gap between each section should be more than adequate.

Roll out the turf tape onto the total length of your fake turf to seamlessly join the separated pieces – leave it for 30 minutes.

If you want to ensure it’s in place, walk over it a few times.

Next, trim any pieces that are jutting out or look out of place. Use a new cutting knife, and not with the one you’ve used to cut the turf.

Secure Your Turf’s Perimeter

You’re almost finished! There’s only one thing left: making sure your new artificial turf stays intact.

Grab some flat nails and start hammering them in on all sides of your turf – make sure you go some 25cm down.

Fill Your Turf With Sand

It’s the little things that add to the natural look. To make your turf appear natural, you’ll need about 12kg sand.

Carefully scatter the sand across your fake grass. If you’re finding it hard with hands, use a rake or a seed dropper to get it right and give your artificial grass an unbelievably natural look.

 

Installing fake grass is easy, affordable, and a more convenient option than growing it out season after season. This is a set-it-and-forget-it solution, so no wonder thousands of homes and offices across the United States choose it.

And now you can have it too. Just follow this guide to DIY your artificial grass installation.

Photo credit: christopher babcock/Shutterstock